Smart meters and the future of energy
By: Alex Manson-Smith
06 Jul 2021
When you think of your gas and electricity meters, chances are you picture those dusty old things that live behind the paint tins in the cupboard under the stairs. At least, you think that’s where they live.
But those meters, with their long and baffling number displays, are in desperate need of an upgrade. That’s why we’re on a mission to install smart meters in all our customers’ homes. As you might expect, the Covid pandemic affected the rollout, but work is picking up with more and more homes joining the smart transformation.
You may be wondering what all the fuss is about, and why you should bother changing. After all, your old meter still works perfectly well, right? But smart meters are part of a huge technological upgrade that will bring the UK’s energy system into the 21st century, where it belongs.
How smart meters can save you money, and create a more efficient energy system
Smart meters bring a whole host of benefits: they’ll tell you how much you’re spending in real time, which means there are no nasty surprises when your bill turns up. It goes without saying that this is a massive help to anyone on a budget.
Once you’ve got a smart meter, you’ll only ever be billed for the energy you use. With old-style meters, you have to submit a reading every month – without one, you might not get an accurate bill. But smart meters send information to your energy supplier either half-hourly, daily, or monthly, removing the need for manual meter readings. Smart meters also make life easier for prepayment customers, who can top up online any time via our website or Shell Energy Top Up app.
But, perhaps best of all, smart meters give you real-time information on your energy use. They let you know exactly how much it’s costing you to boil that kettle or charge your phone. Armed with this knowledge, you can make a more informed decision about whether to turn up the heating, or put another load in the tumble dryer.
This goes a long way towards helping you cut your costs – the government says that, with a smart meter, savvy consumers can cut up to £250 from their energy bill. And, in the process, you’ll also be cutting your carbon emissions.
Indeed, the government considers smart meters key to the UK cutting its emissions and reaching net-zero by 2050. The Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy has worked out that, if we all switch to smart meters, the UK can knock 45 million tonnes off its carbon emissions – the equivalent of taking 26 million cars off the road for a year.
Smart meters are set to revolutionise the way we use electricity. They make it easier for suppliers like us to offer cheaper, off-peak rates for, say, charging your electric car. They tell us more about how you use your energy, which means we can offer you more suitable tariffs. It may be that, one day, you’re offered cheaper electricity on sunny or windy days, when clean energy is easier to come by.
Smart meters can also help you make the most of new technology. For instance, if you’ve got solar panels installed, you can make money by selling your spare electricity to the grid, or store it for later with an intelligent home battery. It’s not unthinkable that many households will soon be generating, storing and selling their own electricity.
A smart energy system also makes it easier for the National Grid to manage demand. If it knows when and where demand for electricity is highest, it can allocate resources accordingly, so less energy is wasted. This will only become more important as the demand for electric vehicles rises. It also makes it easier to bring in energy from clean sources, like wind and solar. Again, this means fewer carbon emissions.
We’re not the only country upgrading to smart meters. Countries like the USA, Canada and Australia have already made the move. Want to be part of the change? Here’s how to do it…
How to get a smart meter
If you’ve yet to join the smart-meter revolution, don’t worry, there’s still time. It won’t cost you anything and should only take an hour or two.If we supply both your gas and electricity, simply book your installation here. If we only supply your electricity, call 0330 094 5231 to book an appointment with our installation partner, SMS Plc. And if you’re a prepayment customer, you can call us on 0330 094 5802 to book.